I didn’t always think so. After putting down a deposit down at NYU and then backing out because of the massive tuition, I always pictured myself in Manhattan. And I do love the East Coast. But after living in California, all things I thought I wouldn’t like about California (crazy peace signs, hippies, and all that jazz) have paled in comparison to all the delightful surprises–from In-n-Out Burgers to simply driving down the freeway. Beauty is everywhere. And yes, in San Francisco, I do have to pay ten cents if I want a bag from any store, but I don’t care (I mean, I do care. But when I look at these pictures it is hard to care.).
If you ask me, from now on my advice will always be the same: California is always a good idea.
For my twenty fifth birthday (over six months ago), my friend, Lis, took me on an adventure. She planned the whole thing and she drove (what a good friend). After having a homeless man spit on me, and probably feeling badly because he was aiming at her, she decided I needed to get out of the city and experience more “California” and a little less “San Francisco.” (Yes, he really did spit on me.)
I didn’t really know where we were going except that involved oysters. However, first, we communed with nature, the way that California Girls do.
I’ve only ever been to warm beaches where I read and tan (burn) and reapply sunscreen every hour but this beach was cold. Lis, who like most Californians, finds 60 degree weather unbearable, squealed as the wind blew our hair every which way. But I love Chicago fall weather and this felt like that weather was transplanted to a beach. I loved it!We stopped off at a little store to get some fancy waters, crackers, and cheese before making our way to Hog Island Oyster company, the best Oysters you can find in Northern California. They harvest and sell them. They were delicious and once again, the scenery was breathtaking.
It was a quiet celebration between two friends who met through the strangest of circumstances (another blog post; don’t worry, I keep a list) and have learned a lot from one another. In a year and a half, we’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of each other which, weirdly, is pretty special. It’s not like we show our crazy side to just anyone, right? But because both of us have such fast paced jobs, this birthday celebration was perfection. It also felt like a friendship celebration (or a friendenaisnce…any Friends fans in the house?) and a breather. We’d made it. We’d both just been promoted. Take a breath and eat an oyster, folks.
On this trip, while Lis drove through the winding roads and I gazed at the rolling green hills and the cliffs overlooking the ocean, I experienced a moment of pure clarity. I slugged Lis in the arm. “I finally get it!” I screamed because the windows were down and I had to be loud.
“Get what?” she yelled back.
Have you ever seen those commercials for cheese and milk that end with “Cows are happier in California”? I ended up going to a pure midwest school and this commercial angered some folks. Their cows aren’t any different than our cows, the midwestern farmers cried, and what does happiness have to do with milk and cheese? Those hoity-toity Californians.
No, no, no, Midwestern Farmers. I am here to tell you something. As I drove through these hills, I spied some cows grazing on a green hill overlooking the ocean in February, and the epiphany shot through me like lightening.
“Cows REALLY ARE happier in California!” I yelled at Lis (who never saw the commercial.) “They really, really are!”
I stand by my statement,